The Department of Justice has spent months investigating the Washington Commanders, sources confirmed to Front Office Sports.
On Wednesday, ESPN was the first outlet to report the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Eastern Virginia had opened a criminal investigation of the Commanders into alleged financial improprieties. Two sources told FOS that at least one other arm of the Justice Department has aided the investigation.
The allegations of financial irregularities first reported earlier this year by FOS are a major focus of the probe, and the Commanders have been cooperating with the investigation for many months.
News of the investigation came hours after owner Dan Snyder announced he was exploring a sale of the Commanders, a team he purchased in 1999.
“The Washington Commanders have fully cooperated with federal and state investigators since the House Oversight Review Committee sent its letter to the FTC,” attorney John Brownlee of Holland & Knight said in a statement to FOS on behalf of the Commanders. “The team has produced tens of thousands of records in response to the requests.”
The allegations under investigation grew out of the House Oversight Committee’s investigation of the Commanders.
In April, the Oversight Committee sent a 20-page letter to the Federal Trade Commission that alleged a “troubling, long-running, and potentially unlawful pattern of financial conduct.”
“This new information on potential financial misconduct suggests that the rot under Dan Snyder’s leadership is much deeper than imagined. It further reinforces the concern that this organization has been allowed to operate with impunity for far too long,” Carolyn Maloney, chair of the Oversight Committee, said in a statement at the time the letter was sent to the FTC.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Alexandria, Virginia, and an NFL spokesperson declined to comment.
The Oversight Committee’s probe of the Commanders remains open. A spokesperson told FOS that there’s no timeline on when the final findings would be released.
“We are confident that, after these agencies have had a chance to review the documents and complete their work, they will come to the same conclusion as the team’s internal review — that these allegations are simply untrue,” Brownlee said.